Try This—Spanakopita Grilled Cheese

So I broke my Huel diet last night on the most divine sandwich I’ve had in a long time. I didn’t feel much like cooking some elaborate meal so I opted for the tried and true grilled cheese sandwich. I usually put sliced tomato directly on a grilled cheese instead of making a side of tomato soup. Two birds, one stone. But alas, I had no tomato. I had no tomato soup. I didn’t even have any cheddar cheese. So as it goes with most tasty new recipes, last night’s sandwich was born of a combination of desire and improvisation. I bring to you the Spanakopita Grilled Cheese. You must try this!!!

Spanakopita Grilled Cheese

ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon softened butter
  • 4 slices good-quality bread
  • 1 clove garlic, sliced thin
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 shallot, sliced thinly
  • One 10-ounce bag baby spinach, or 2 big handfuls
  • Pinch salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chopped dill
  • 2 ounces feta, crumbled
  • 4 thin slices provolone cheese

Directions

  • Preheat your panini press (you can make this on the stove top, but for next level sandwiches you really should invest in a panini press).
  • Divide butter evenly between the four slices of bread, spread thinly on one side of each slice.
  • In a medium skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat, add the garlic and shallot, and cook about 4 minutes, or until the garlic is golden-brown. Add spinach and salt and pepper, and cook for a few more minutes, until the spinach is wilted and most of the moisture is cooked out. Add dill and feta, turn off heat, and mix.
  • Assemble the sandwiches by placing two slices of bread butter side-down on your press or pan, add one slice of provolone to each, then divide the spinach mixture in half and place half on each slice. Top with the remaining 2 slices of cheese and slices of bread, butter side-up.
  • If using a panini press, put the lid down and cook for about 5 minutes, or until golden and bubbly. If using a pan, flip after about 5 minutes, then cook on the other side for 3 minutes. Enjoy!

Source: Alexandra V. Jones

Try This—The Mozzacado: A Next Level Caprese Sandwich

There’s really no way for me to be modest about this, so I’m just gonna come right out and say it. I am a sandwich aficionado. Like seriously a sandwich making guru. There’s really no challenge too great when it comes to making a vegetarian version of a classic sandwich. Still don’t believe me? Try this incredible vegetarian take on a Vietnamese favorite or this amazing vegetarian halloumi burger or any of these. I’ll wait.

Yup. When I’m right, I’m right. But maybe the biggest challenge for a guru like me, is to bring you a knock-your-socks-off recipe for an already vegetarian friendly sandwich. I’m up to the task though. I think I might have a slight advantage here, because who doesn’t love a caprese? Mozzarella. Tomato. Basil. Mmmm. Nuff said. But I, for real, just took my caprese to the next level. Sky high with avocado. Mozzacado! Yaaaaassssss!

This is a super easy recipe, but the payoff is like hitting the lotto. Full disclosure: I ate two of these sandwiches on football Sunday. Whatever. It’s more than a little delicious and it didn’t leave me feeling guilty at all. Fuller disclosure: The second time around, I put that Mozzacado on a panini press. I have transcended. Seriously, if you love sandwiches as much as I do, get your hands on the Cuisinart panini press that I use. Your sandwich game will never be the same. Anyway, the name says it all. The Mozzacado. You must try this!

Mozzacado Caprese Sandwich

Ingredients

makes 2 sandwiches

  • 4 thick slices sourdough bread
  • 1 medium avocado
  • 1 small ripe tomato
  • 4 slices whole milk mozzarella, sliced thick
  • 6-8 fresh basil leaves
  • flaky sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions

  • Lightly toast the bread
  • Smash the pitted avocado with a little salt and pepper
  • Spread a thick layer of smashed avocado on the warm bread
  • Layer the cheese with the basil and tomato over the avocado

Try This—Vegetarian Mason Jar Chili and Cornbread

There isn’t much you can’t do in the kitchen with mason jars. I mean seriously. From oatmeal, to smoothies, to salads, to totally unique lunch ideas that will make you the envy of your hungry coworkers, and even just storing leftovers. Mason jars do it all. Over the weekend, I was craving some comfort food like whoa. Let me clarify. I wanted to chill out and watch the Texans-Patriots game with something hot and delicious. Since Ryan Tongia was unavailable, I decided I’d make some cornbread instead. Such is life.

A while back I saw this recipe for baked chili and cornbread, and I really wanted to see what that’s all about. I’ve been a bit hesitant, because the recipe called for baking in a mason jar. Now I’ve made a lot of things with the help of mason jars, but the scientist in me is always a little bit nervous when putting non-Pyrex glass in the oven. If you’re anything like that, believe me, I completely understand. There are tons of oven baked mason jar recipes floating around the internet, though, so I’m pretty sure I’ve just been paranoid.

Nonetheless, I’ve mostly avoided baking in mason jars, but this weekend three things came into play. First, this sudden craving for Fall season comfort food. Second, the bottomless pit of weekend lazy that I slip further into as the minutes go by, fueled by my couch, a chunky throw, and NFL Sunday Ticket rendering me almost completely incapable of preparing a well thought out meal. Last, but certainly not least, is my insatiable desire to prepare cute little meals that are Instagram worthy and mason jars are perfect for that (admittedly, most of the time they end up looking like Cooking For Bae). So basically, my lazy and my shallow gave me the courage to make this recipe. I present you with… Mason Jar Chili and Cornbread!!! You must try this!

Mason Jar Chili and Cornbread

Ingredients

  • 1 can Amy’s vegetarian chili
  • Bob’s Red Mill Cornbread Mix (you’ll need eggs, milk, oil to make the batter)

Directions

  • fill the bottom of your mason jar with chili and top with a couple of spoonfuls of batter
  • bake at 375 for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the cornbread comes out clean
  • Enjoy!

If you’re not as lazy as me and want to try your hand at homemade chili and homemade cornbread, try these recipes. Just replace the meat in the recipe with tofu or quinoa to keep it vegetarian.

***For a variation, you can try biscuit batter or pie dough over a hearty stew for a mason jar mini pot pie!

Try This— Reuben Inspired Vegetarian Sauerkraut Sandwich

My health crazes come in waves. I make secret promises to myself every now and again that I’ll juice everyday and incorporate at least one raw ingredient at every meal. Sigh. Then that ‘sort your life out’ urgency surrounding New Years, or most recently back-to-school, wears off and I’m back to quick hunger fixes that are not always the healthiest choices. So here we are. School is in full swing. Days are long and hectic. Weeknights are way too short, and weekends are lightning fast. My menu goals have once again degenerated from lofty meal plans filled with raw foods and special recipes to the quickest grab and go recipe I can make, usually with whatever hodgepodge of ingredients I still have on hand. But sometimes, in the midst of all of the work week chaos and the lazy girl meals I resort to, I find a happy place. A place where my lazy girl, work week meal is actually super healthy. Enter the sauerkraut sandwich.

So putting sauerkraut on a sandwich is as American as, well, it’s as American as a hot Reuben. When I was a kid, my parents used to drive us over the Williamsburg Bridge and head up to Madison Ave. in Midtown. There was this deli there that was famous for their Reuben sandwiches. In fact, I think the place might have been called Reuben’s Delicatessan. Whatever the place was called, they seriously had some bangin’ reubens. Corned Beef, sauerkraut, Swiss cheese, and Russian dressing on rye bread. A beautiful representation of the diversity of America, totally unlike this recent wave of venomous xenophobia we’ve seen infecting the headlines. #NoFascistUSA. Ahem, I digress.

Anyway, Reubens were one of my favorite sandwiches when I was still a meat eater, and as a vegetarian, I’ve often used those favorite, childhood recipes to inspire the recipes I create today. This sauerkraut sandwich recipe is totally inspired by those classic Reubens I loved as a kid.

 

Okay. So I’m gonna tell you what this sandwich is all about, but you gotta promise you’ll at least try it. Pinky swear, because this right here might be a giant leap of faith. On paper these ingredients listed together won’t sound all that tasty, but I just need you to let me guide you through this. The two main ingredients are sauerkraut and almond butter. Seriously, you guys! Keep reading! I promise it works. For those of you that don’t really like sauerkraut, let me try to set your mind at ease just a little bit. I don’t go crazy for sauerkraut either. I mean, it’s okay, but honestly I could do without it. I’m not all that into almond butter either. Again, it’s good, but not to die for. You have to trust me when I say this though… the two combined make for one of the most divine, yet healthy sandwiches you’ll ever have. Leap of faith for sure. You must try this!!!

Reuben Inspired Vegetarian Sauerkraut Sandwich

ingredients

  • 2 slices of bread, toasted
  • sauerkraut, drained
  • 2-3 tbsp almond butter
  • Bragg’s Liquid Amino (we’re talking less than a teaspoon)
  • garlic powder, pinch

Directions

  • drain your sauerkraut by placing it between some paper towels
  • try to get as much of the liquid off as possible
  • on toasted bread, spread an even layer of almond butter on both slices
  • place your drained sauerkraut on top of the almond butter
  • sprinkle the sauerkraut with a pinch of garlic powder, then drizzle a little Bragg’s over top (again, be careful not to soak your sandwich, a very little bit of Bragg’s goes a long way)
  • close your sandwich and dig in!

Optional add-ons which are fun:

Swiss Cheese—if you want it melted, don’t be afraid to pop the whole sandwich in the oven, it won’t hurt it

Alfafa Sproutshealth benefits galore

Roasted Garlic Paste—only if you’re surrounded by people that love you for you no matter how bad your breath smells

Tempeh—mostly for the texture, but remember tempeh has a very nutty flavor. Keep that in mind when you’re spreading your almond butter

Try This—Jicama!!!

I should probably admit that I’m kind of a picky eater. I’m almost always certain to pass on funny looking veggies I’ve never heard of at the farmer’s market. Seriously, no matter how many rave reviews jackfruit, or whatever, gets on cooking sites, just looking at that thing gives me the shivers. I’m the one at the kitchen table using the prongs of my fork to separate that unidentified ingredient from the rest of the meal, holding it up to the light, crinkling my nose, and asking, “what is this?” I’ll even go so far as to do a ton of research on the superfood du jour, but not even a stellar report card of health benefits can convince me to take the plunge.

Anyway, as with most of the new foods I end up trying, the story starts with a stir fry. I love stir fry. No other meal can trick me into putting fermented whatever-the-hell into a dish I’m about to consume, no questions asked. It is stir fry that got me to try mung bean sprouts, bok choy, water chestnuts and countless varieties of mushrooms. So on my latest run to the Asian food store, I got my hands on jicama.

I’d been hearing a lot of good things about jicama. I decided to just bite my bottom lip and add it to my weekend stir fry.  Omigod! Probably the best decision I’ve made in a long time… My decision to pack tank tops when flying to England was decidedly the worst decision I’ve made recently because cold. Anyway, jicama is the truth, y’all. It’s like a mix between an apple, a russet potato, and a turnip. I mean, who knew? Okay, so maybe I’m a little late to the party, as I’ve seen a ton of recipes floating around Pinterest, but still, better late than never!

For the rundown on jicama, check out these useful infographics below, courtesy of draxe.com, then keep scrolling for some serving suggestions courtesy of thekitchn.

Jicama (HEE—KAH—MAH)

Serving Suggestions

  • First, know that a jicama stick can stand up to a carrot stick any day — excellent on its own, or with a dip or vinaigrette.
  • Jicama makes an excellent salsa — a perfect match for a tortilla chip or to top a taco. Cut jicama into slim sticks, then dice it finely. Combine the jicama with corn or diced tomato, black beans, a little red onion or scallion, minced jalapeno, cilantro, and lime juice.
  • Cut jicama into thin strips or matchsticks and make a slaw with shredded red cabbage, carrots, and avocado.
  • Tuck jicama matchsticks into fresh spring rolls.
  • Stir-fry jicama; its flesh stays crisp when cooked briefly, adding a refreshing crunch to any strir-fry. Try it with broccoli, garlic, ginger, scallions, and toasted sesame seeds or cashews.